- Do speak up when an issue is important to you. It is a mistake to stay silent if the cost is to feel better, resentful or unhappy. We de-self ourselves when we fail to make a stand on issues that matter to us.
- Don’t strike when the iron is hot. Sometimes it’s better to seek a temporary distance from the problem and think it through more clearly.
- Do take time out to think about the problem and to clarify your position. What is it about this that makes me so angry? Who is responsible for what? What specifically do I want to change?
- Don’t use below the belt tactics: These include blaming, diagnosing, ridiculing, preaching, interrogating.
- Do speak in “I language.” Learn to say “I want…I need…I feel… I fear. The I statement says something about the self without criticizing or blaming the other.
- Don’t make vague requests. Let people know specifically what you want.
- Do try to appreciate the fact that people are different. Different perspectives and ways of reacting do not necessarily mean that one person is “right” and the other “wrong.”
- Don’t tell another person what she or he thinks or feels or should think or should think or feel.
- Do recognize that each person is responsible for his or her own behavior.
- Don’t participate in intellectual arguments that go nowhere.
- Do try to avoid speaking through a third party.
- Don’t expect change to come about from hit and run confrontations.
SOURCE: An article by Harriet Goldhor Lerner PhD. Staff Psychologist at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka Kansas.
I am making an effort today to live one day at a time.
“We can try to stop making unreasonable demands upon those we love.”
Clarification of thought
I am learning that to have any peace, I will have to learn how to accept others as they are and not try to change them. I believe that when I no longer have these great expectations of other persons, or myself, it is then that my level of peace and serenity go up. It’s my unreasonable expectations of how things should be that causes me to panic and to live in the future instead of the present.
I am aware that I don’t want the people I love to pity me, feel sorry for me, or even to feel that somehow they are to blame for my chronic relationship with depression. If I am able to feel better, I am going to have to make the decision to work toward that goal. From now on, all that I have to ask of anyone is to be patient with me as I break out of my solitary world of sadness.
The only real demand that I make upon myself is that I do all in my power to begin to get better. I make only those demands upon myself that are attainable, not perfectionistic and which are based upon the reality of hope that one does and can get better by living and facing life head on.
We are going to begin to pray today that God helps us find out other ways to love ourselves.
SOURCES: Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 168. August 21.
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous publications. Louisville.
First I need to forgive myself for not being perfect. I want to accept the fact that I am human and fallible.
” Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Step Nine of Depressed Anonymous
Clarification of thought
When I made up my mind to attend my first Twelve Step meeting that was the beginning of making amends to myself and to others. It was this taking the step and coming to a meeting that I made my statement that I needed help and that I might change the way that I lived my life. I need to lay all my cards on the table and get straight with anyone from my past who I feel that I hurt by my continual withdrawal from living a full life. I need to make amends to those who I passively watched when I would have been a support or a partner. For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.
This really means that I will take an active role in changing my life. Amends doesn’t mean that we just shift the furniture around the room of our life. I might have to rip out the plumbing, knock out a wall, that is, face a major overhaul on the way I look at myself.
Our God will help us locate the truth about whom we need to make amends; that is, how God wishes us to be changed and whom we need to have forgiveness from so that we will be God’s worthy vessels to carry hope to others still suffering from the despair of their sadness.”
Source: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step Fellowship groups. Louisville. Page 166.
Other sources of interest:
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
I’ll do it when I feel better (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
Believing is seeing (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
I can live each moment as it comes. I can live only in today. Today is all I have.
“Try to work out which is your habitual response to change which you see as dangerous, so that as you dare to explore you don’t suddenly find yourself running away to the safety of old ways, or resisting the new ideas with old prejudices.( 3)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I find that when I am depressed I find all the comfort in the predictable and the familiar. Right now, I am in battle for my life and I am going to stay and work things out. My feelings are agitated and make me feel very uncomfortable, but I know that it is only by feeling them and accepting them (not run away) that I will, and can in time, begin to taste the freedom of a new me beginning to be born. I believe that by desiring change, this desire will produce a greater motivation in my self to think and feel differently.
This is an important concept when I am depressed. I desire the safety of the familiar and the predictable.
God, help me to live in the peace and the serenity of the present moment. And let us be aware of the moment when we begin to depress ourselves. Alert us to the moment that we can CHOOSE to turn our minds to something more constructive.
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days(c). (March 17).
Well, for one, it takes work to change our behavior. It takes time. It also takes a plan for getting done what needs to get done. You remember the saying: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” There is some truth to that as I know firsthand from personal experience. How often did I tell myself that I would do this or do that, when I felt better. Can you relate to that? Most of us can. But when I was depressed I never felt better – to do anything–at least to do the stuff that I needed to do to escape my comfortable cocoon of inactivity. It was hardly comfortable. At least I didn’t have to make any decision to get better. I guess that was the comfort.
First of all, I knew that after being painfully aware that I was spiraling down into a place where I could not just snap my fingers and I would feel good again. My will power was powerless to help. So, my awareness told me that I had to get motivated and start to move–I mean physically move. I had to force myself out of bed. I did that. I motivated myself to move. I Got up the force to move my body and this gradually and with some reluctance moved my mind to do more. So then I placed myself into the doing stage. I had to change, I told myself
I then started a process of removing from my thinking those thoughts that told me how futile my life was, plus how worthless I considered myself. I started to replace all those negative statements about myself in my head with positive statements. Positive affirmations. I began to repeat over and over my mantras where I began to say good things about myself, while discarding the negative and unpleasant thoughts about myself; thoughts that continued to paralyze me. These mantras are the mental thinking loop which I repeated dutifully hour after hour, day after day. ” I will build a new life”; “I am stronger than my sadness”; ” I have the courage to go through this painful experience”;” I no longer blame myself or others for my sadness”. “I do not have to wait for someone else to make me glad;” “I am focusing on my stars, not my scars;” . “I can do it;.” “Yes, I can.”
Now that you are AWARE of being powerless over the sadness in your life, what are you DOING today to continue MOTIVATING yourself? I will change myself.
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville, Kentucky
An excerpt with some modifications and additions from Higher Thoughts for today, November 15.
NO LONGER WILL WE ACCEPT OUR PAST THINKING THAT OUR WORTH IS BASED ON OUR ABILITY TO PRODUCE.
I am going to be alert to those times during the day today, when I give myself the message that I could have done something better. These messages are from an old hypercritical tape from my childhood. Guilt rides roughshod over us when we fail to live up to the expectations we have of ourselves or those held by others about us. ( My 3rd grade teacher compared me to my brother, who was very smart, and said that I would never be like him, meaning brilliant. She was right, I am not brilliant. But it was only until I was in my 30’s did I realize that I had other qualities. Like it really didn’t matter anymore what she thought.) Since I have admitted that I am depressed, (Aware, motivated, doing, and maintaining positive behaviors) I am able to change certain old ways of thinking and behaving.
Our worth comes from the earliest childhood memories. The more we are able to get in touch with early images and feelings that we hold about ourselves the more clearly can we see that what we feel as adults is many times based on early childhood emotions. I am depending more now on my Higher Power to get me safely to those early days and those feelings. I will also talk to a friend today about my childhood experiences. I am not perfect–so what?
With God on our side, we can’t fail. God loves us just the way we are.
Today, we can look at the Motivating Stage –One of the Four. We have talked about the first stage, namely that of just being Aware. And in the context of BLAMING ourselves, others or God, we have made ourselves aware of a character defect where blaming others works against our self. It is in the Aware stage that we realize that “something is really wrong with me” as David Karp points out in his insightful book Speaking of Sadness. I know the feeling. I knew that I couldn’t just stay in bed but had to do something to get rid of that all encompassing fatigue as well as reduce the tremors in my limbs and eliminate that horrible jittery feeling in my gut. This led me to make a decision –to get motivated— hoping against hope that I wasn’t losing my mind. I wasn’t going crazy.
In the Motivating Stage we are using our awareness to show us how our negative thinking and talking to ourselves has helped continue our sadness. It’s like we have a “wake-up” call telling us how all this negative and emotion laden self talk is making us depressed. And now I am making up my mind to change the way I talk to myself as well as motivate myself to follow the spiritual program of recovery–step by step. I also am trying to live in the present. All I have is just this 24 hours. This Motivating Stage prepares me to move to the DOING stage. I will do all it takes to quit the BLAME game and gradually accept responsibility for my life.
MOVE THE BODY AND THE MIND WILL FOLLOW!